The impact of 256 new legume and 119 dryland cereal varieties developed and released in partnership with National Agricultural Research Systems under two CGIAR Research Programs – Grain Legumes, and Dryland Cereals, were reviewed at a meeting held recently. The review covered research efforts that helped improve farmers’ productivity and consumption of 12 crops in 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South and South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The two global CGIAR research programs led by ICRISAT were launched in mid-2012 in response to the global challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and climate change. With a strong global partnership with organizations such as the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICARDA), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and National Agricultural Research System partners, the knowledge, expertise, and experience from stakeholders in the public and private sectors, governments and farmers worldwide was brought together.
The legume crops include chickpea, common bean, cowpea, faba bean, groundnut, lentil, pigeonpea and soybean. The new legume varieties and hybrids were developed for traits such as drought, heat, herbicide, low phosphorus tolerance, early maturity, insect resistance, machine harvestability and high nitrogen fixation. Other key areas of intervention included developing productive management systems, facilitating legume seed and technology delivery systems, enhancing post-harvest processing and market opportunities; gender mainstreaming, fostering innovation and managing knowledge.
The dryland cereals include barley, finger millet, pearl millet and sorghum. Biofortified cultivars and those suitable for malting and use as fish feed and green gram were developed. The interventions included integrated Striga management, microdosing, motorized seeder, parasitoid wasps for tackling pearl millet head miner, double cropping, conservation agriculture, usage of sprinklers, and formation of seed consortia among others.
The two programs completed their first phase in December 2014 and are currently in a two-year extension phase. Delivery of outcomes and impact from the two programs has been significant since their inception
More than 125 key stakeholders that included global partners, scientists, Steering and Advisory Committee members of CGIAR Research Programs on Grain Legumes, and on Dryland Cereals attended the three-day meeting held in early October 2016 at ICRISAT, India. A poster session with about 81 posters highlighted the scientific achievements of the programs. All presentations and posters can be accessed at: http://grainlegumes.cgiar.org/grain-legumes-review-meeting/
At the three-day review meeting, the coordinators of the 15 game-changing product lines of Dryland Cereals and Grain Legumes presented the progress in their areas of research (see links below). Dr Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CRPs Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals presented the highlights of the two programs. Dr Jill Findeis, Director, Division of Applied Social Sciences at University of Missouri, USA and Chair, Steering and Advisory Committee for Grain Legumes; Prof. Peter Langridge, University of Adelaide, Australia and Chair, Steering and Advisory Committee forDryland Cereals; Dr Ylva Hillbur, Deputy Director General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Dr Steve Beebe, Program Leader, Agrobiodiversity Research Area, Bean Program, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); Dr Michael Baum, Director, Biodiversity and Integrated Gene Management Program, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA); and Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT, participated actively in the proceedings.